2018 Winter Equestrian Festival - January 10 - April 1, 2018 - 50

NATIONS CUP: IRISH TEAM PROFILE

championships,
and then I spoke
to each one of
them to see
what program
I wanted to do.
I had an idea
in March of
the four or five
horses that I
wanted to have
in August, and
funny enough,
it was the five
horses I thought
about in the
beginning that came out in August. That means we
did our job well," he commented.
"At the same time, with trials and qualifiers, what we
really wanted to do was not over-jump the horses
during the summer and come to the championship
tired," Pessoa explained. "We wanted to make them
jump, and at the same time do our trials, and then
we didn't need to do anything more than that. I only
observed and let the horses jump. At some point
when you've seen enough, you pull them away from
the selection process and keep them on the slow build
up and get them ready for the championship."
"One thing that was very important to me is with
these riders being the great riders that they are,
having a lot of experience and everything, they still
listen to someone who came from the outside and
said, 'Look, let's try to do this instead of that,' and
trusted that I knew what I was doing and that I was
really looking out for their best, and trying to bring
them to the championship at a good point, a peak
point," Pessoa acknowledged.
While he still has time in his daily schedule to ride
and train his own horses while at home, Pessoa
emphasized that the team comes first, and any

50

2018 WINTER EQUESTRIAN FESTIVAL

competitions
he gets to do
on the side
are a bonus:
"My priority
now is the
team. I still
show when
I have time,
but I've done
enough shows
in my life that
I can, you
know, wait
for a couple
of weeks to
show, that's not the priority. If I have to skip a show
because I have to go somewhere and see a couple
of Irish horses jump with my own eyes then I'll do
that. It's my job and that's my priority and my show
schedule is really secondary for me."
Technology has greatly enhanced Pessoa's ability
to keep tabs on the team's progress, he added. "I
watch a lot. Now the technology of today is very
helpful because I get a list every Monday of where
everybody is-every Irish combination that's entered
in every international show. I can go on the live feed
and watch, and they can't tell me, 'Oh, it was great. He
jumped great and had one down' if it's not true. I can
go see for myself." He continued, "Sometimes I call
them on Monday or Tuesday and say, 'Hey, I watched
yesterday and you jumped good, but this could be
better...' and they'll say to me, 'No, you didn't see, you
weren't there!' And to that I say 'Yeah, I saw. Don't
worry, I'm watching.' So they know now that I am
watching at all times."
Above all, one thing has become abundantly clear to
Pessoa as he's begun to lead the Irish team: that their
potential for success is exponential. It's only going to
get better from here and he's always watching.



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